Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 5

Sunday. 19th. CFA Sunday. 19th. CFA
Sunday. 19th.

The weather continues particularly mild, and probably produces this tendency to colds. I attended divine service all day and heard Mr. Frothingham. Ezekiel 33. 26. “Ye stand upon your sword.” A too confident reliance upon power, which is the foible of mankind, exemplified in the text where the Lord reproaches the Jews for leaving him, claiming their lands by the right of inheritance and of possession.

I preferred the more practical though perhaps more common discourse of Mr. Parkman in the afternoon from James 1. pt. 19–20. “Wherefore let every man be slow to wrath. For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.” To me, this came with a voice of real instruction. My great sin is the violence of my temper, and this upon occasions when really there is neither call nor adequate justification. I have endeavoured to amend. And I do, but the difficulty of the task is hardly conceivable to one of milder nature. Mr. Parkman alluded to the duty of self government in the domestic circle where men oftenest fail, and I laid up the advice he gave for future thought. Here he was not full enough.

Read a Sermon of Bishop Atterbury. Job 29. 14. “I put on righteousness and it clothed me: my judgment was as a robe and a diadem.” Preached before the Lord Mayor of London—The blessing of good Magistrate to whom honour is justly due when he maintains the character described in the Text. An indifferent discourse. I think less and less of them as I read on.

Evening Mr. T. K. Davis took tea with us and sat an hour after 250which Mr. Degrand came in. We were very anxious about the child who seemed feverish and with his Lungs excessively oppressed. He was a little better towards night.

Monday. 20th. CFA Monday. 20th. CFA
Monday. 20th.

The child was not so well this morning. His voice was almost gone. The Dr. calls it a catarrh on his Lungs of a very severe character.1 I went to the office quite anxious about him.

Time taken up in Accounts, reading the rest of Mr. Binney’s Speech which does not quite equal the first and second parts, but on the whole Congress rarely furnishes such specimens. Walk. Afternoon, attended a meeting of the Directors of the Boylston Market Association. Nothing was done however. The distress continues here, and is very likely to continue if I may judge by the indifference with which it is viewed by the Majority at Washington.

Home, the child better which was a source of great comfort to me. Finished and dispatched a letter to my father. Col. Josiah and Mrs. Quincy called and passed a couple of hours. General but not interesting conversation. Tried to read Smith but could not fix my attention.


“Poor little Johnny is as unwell with a catarrh as his grandfather ever was” (CFA to JQA, 19 Jan., Adams Papers ).

Tuesday. 21st. CFA Tuesday. 21st. CFA
Tuesday. 21st.

The weather changes to much cooler. The child was pronounced better this morning much to my relief. I went to the office and was busy in Accounts which I find now assuming a little more of ease. The pressure has operated and seems likely to operate upon my receipts. I am now just getting rid of embarrassment. Drew the Dividend at the Life Insurance Co. which is improving.

Short walk. Afternoon at home but my late nights prevented a very good employment of time. Read Lord Bacon’s History of Life and Death, a work of singular character and full of imaginations with many valuable ideas. Finished the Aeneid of Virgil. I have read it with pleasure though not with the critical accuracy of Horace. I find repetition of a Classic only shows me how much I let escape before. Evening quiet. My wife retired early. It was cold.

Wednesday. 22d. CFA Wednesday. 22d. CFA
Wednesday. 22d.

This was the first morning which has occurred this winter, of extraordinary severity. I went to the Office and found that my Office boy 251had deserted me. Thus it frequently happens. I made my fire and sat down to my occupations. But the morning was so short as hardly to allow of any such thing.

I went about to pay all the small Accounts which I could get rid of, from a twofold consideration, to relieve my own mind and to aid so far as I was able others who might want the money more, in this time of great pressure.

Afternoon at home without doing much. My time is now very lazily spent. Read Bacon and wrote a letter to my Mother.1 Evening, Patronage and Adam Smith.


Adams Papers. LCA answered promptly on the 27th (Adams Papers).